Cheap Seats

Is Beltre the cure for the weak and wounded Cardinals offense?

It seems obvious that the St. Louis Cardinals are going to have to do something to improve their offense in the absence of Matt Adams and Matt Holliday.

The Cardinals were lingering in the bottom third of major league offenses before the third and fourth hitters in their lineup were shelved with similar quad injuries. As we saw in hitter-friendly Colorado, without them, runs are simply going to be very difficult to find.

I wonder if, instead of directly replacing one of them with a first baseman or an outfielder if focusing on the bat and worrying about the position the acquired hitter plays might be a better way to go about things.

There just aren’t many good first base options on the trade market right now. But there is a pretty good potential trade target across the diamond at third.

Texas Rangers slugger Adrian Beltre is in the last year of his contract (with an $18-million option for next season.) He’s the right-handed power source the Cardinals need AND an experience middle of the order hitter.

Factor in that the Rangers just called up their top prospect, Joey Gallo, who is also a third baseman. So maybe Texas would be willing to make a deal.

Gallo has two homers in 35at-bats since being called up to replace Beltre in the lineup. He’s batting .313. He was hitting .314 with nine homers in Class AA before the promotion. Texas likes the kid so much they skipped him right over the Class AAA level.

Beltre is currently on the disabled list with a thumb laceration. But he’s hit six homers in the 51 games he’s played so far. While Texas is a hitters’ haven, we’ve seen plenty of cases of AL hitters who thrive against NL pitching.

But what about Matt Carpenter? Well, he played very well at first base when Lance Berkman was constantly fighting knee injuries three years ago. So move him back across the diamond to make room for Beltre.

With Randal Grichuk and Peter Bourjos already on the roster, the Cardinals are well-covered at that position. It’s Matt Adams’s spot both in the order and on the field that most needs improvement. Plus, if Beltre was acquired as a started, Mark Reynolds could go back to what he was signed to do: being the first righty hitter off the bench and playing a utility role on the infield and outfield corners.

It’s a shame the Houston Astros have cooled off so much lately. Their lead over the Rangers has dwindled to two games and Texas is back in the playoff picture. That is probably the biggest obstacle to convincing the Texas to part with Beltre.

But it’s difficult, regardless of their current place in the standings, to believe Texas is going to make the post-season. While Houston may be a year or two away from being a true force, the Seattle Mariners and Anaheim Angels have too much talent not to compete.